From 14 February customers with chip and pin cards may not be allowed to sign for goods at the cash till, as banks impose regulations on the card payment system.
Retailers without pin functionality at point-of-sales terminals will be liable for any credit card fraud they incur, banks say, following revelations that around £1.4 million is lost to card fraudsters every day.
Meanwhile some leading banks and building societies still have not issued all their customers with the correct cards, causing disarray for shoppers and retailers alike. Many businesses fear a drop in sales as a result.
A Tesco spokesperson told FoodandDrinkEurope.com: "In terms of our policy, yesterday was the cut off point per sae. But for us as a retailer we will still continue to try people's cards and it's up to the banks to accept or decline the transaction. We will continue to accept signatures."
But Britain's Forum for Private Business (FPB), which represents more than 20,000 independent retailers, has slammed the process.
Chief executive Nick Goulding said: "It is the banks which have ignored all the warning signs and ploughed ahead with chip and pin's introduction when consumers and retailers are clearly not ready."
Unfortunately small firms already struggling in a difficult retail environment will bear the brunt of this chaos, claims Goulding.
Larger retailers have already invested millions installing the new technology ahead of deadline, to guarantee they are insured against spiraling card crime, reputed to take place once every eight seconds in the UK alone.
But still 10 per cent of Britain's tills have not been converted, leaving some branches of Waitrose struggling with implementation after deadline.
Nearly 130 million chip and pin cards have been issued, out of a total of 141 million credit and debit cards in Britain.
But more than five million people have yet to memorise their code, according to a survey by TNS Financial and Professional Services. The analysts also found that one in ten people does not even know about the deadline.
And the National Consumer Council recently estimated that as many as three million elderly and disabled people could struggle to use the cards.